How to Make a Difference in
the New Year
January 2005 is National
Mentoring Month. According to the Mentoring Partnership of
New York, a coalition of non-profit organizations has developed
a major national initiative, in collaboration with the leading
broadcast and cable networks to create January National Mentoring
Month an annual, concentrated intense national and local media
activity combined with extensive community outreach.
The objective is to make
the public more aware of the many benefits of mentoring and
to invite support. Mentoring USA (MUSA) welcomes the effort
as a valuable opportunity to describe our particular model
of one to one mentoring that has proven so successful in improving
the lives of children at risk and of the volunteers who participate
in the mentoring relationship.
The need—and therefore
the opportunity is great. Throughout the five boroughs of our
city where MUSA operates programs there are long waiting lists
of young people who will benefit greatly from a mentoring experience,
perhaps as many as 225,000 of them. What we need most now are
volunteers willing to serve as mentors. Corporate organizations
can be particularly useful by allowing us to recruit from their
employees. Serving as a volunteer mentor is not a complicated
undertaking. Men and women eager to be of service to a child
in need by serving as a useful, loving dedicated adult presence
in his or her life need only to commit to spending at least
one hour per week for a one year commitment with the child.
MUSA provides training, relatively simple instructions and
activities in a manual for the mentor and guidance by our professional
program managers available at any time.
The principal reward to the
mentor is the satisfaction that you have made a real—perhaps
even a vital contribution to the life of your mentee. Our files
are filled with letters from mentors expressing their pleasure
at having undertaken the effort and from former mentees who
credit a mentor as a turning point in their life, leading them
to an upward path. In fact, I have been able to produce a book “The
Person Who Changed My Life” in which seventy-seven
prominent celebrities tell us about their mentors and pay
tribute to them. Because of the popularity of the book, a
second edition was published with added contributions by
Tim Russet, Diane Sawyer, Martin Sheen, Senator John McCain,
Secretary Colin Powell and Hillary Rodham Clinton who wrote
the forward to the book. The National Mentoring Month 2005
campaign will feature these celebrities and many others in
video clips and written essays. We thank all of these celebrities
for their caring, time and thoughtfulness.
The National Mentoring Month
2005 campaign website, www.WhoMentoredYou.org, provides a variety
of ways to be involved in different events; “Thank
Your Mentor Day” will be celebrated on Tuesday, January
25. The Mentoring Partnership of New York also has many events
scheduled on their website www.mentoring.org/newyork.
MUSA is fortunate to have
many compassionate heroes—our
volunteers, mentors, school and site coordinators and community
friends. We thank the following book publishers who donated
books for our mentees at our annual Holiday Party: Random House,
Houghton Mifflin, Time Warner Book Group and Bloomsbury Children’s
Our special thanks to Michael
Gould, President and CEO of Bloomingdale’s,
and all the employees who are mentors for the children at PS
59, MUSA’s largest program. Again, for the 4th consecutive
year, MUSA is proud to have Bloomingdale’s devote their
Third Avenue corner window to MUSA, displaying a creative mentoring
theme. Michael Gould will unveil the outstanding window on
Tuesday morning, January 25 and then host a breakfast for the
mentors and mentees from PS 59.
This year, we are thrilled
to have the participation of the members of the National Basketball
Association and the Women’s
National Basketball Association and have them join MUSA for
National Mentoring Month 2005.
Everyone can make a difference
in the life of a child. Be a mentor!
To become a mentor in the
Mentoring USA programs throughout New York City, please access
www.MentoringUSA.org call our Recruitment Manager Leslie Kelley
at 212.400.8286 or e-mail MUSA@MentoringUSA.org.#
Matilda Cuomo is the
Founder and Chairperson of Mentoring USA and Janet Polli
is the Director of MUSA.